Yulong Copper Mine in Tibet to be operational
Thursday, 21 August 2008, 4:38 p.m.
Dharamshala: People’s Daily
Online, 15 August 2008, reported that Yulong Copper Mine in Tibet will
start operating from September this year. Environment and Development
Desk (EDD) of the Central Tibetan Administration is deeply concerned
about the environmental and social implications of the project on the
Tibetan plateau and its people.
Yulong Copper Mine in Jomda (Ch: Jiangda) County, Chamdo (Ch:
Qamdo) Prefecture, “TAR”, is among the largest mines of its kind in the
world with an area of 1,870 sq km. The mine is notably the second
largest mine in Asia with a proven deposit of 6.5 million tonnes of
copper in ore form and another 10 million tonnes of prospective
reserves. It is expected to produce 2,000 tons of refined copper in
2008 and the company hopes to expand the production capacity to 100,000
tons a year eventually, cites People’s Daily Online. Yulong copper mine
is predominantly owned by Zijin Mining Group and Western Mining, both
of which are China’s major mining and Development Company.
The operation of the mine has been delayed since the 1990s due
to the remoteness of the place and its weak supporting infrastructures
for the mining industry. However, Yang Qianrang, an industrial planning
official with the regional economic commission, said that the Tibet
Yulong Copper Co. Ltd. has finished building the basic infrastructure,
as well as staff recruitment and training, roads and housing for the
miners etc. A power station was built on the Mekong River (Tib: Zachu)
in Dragyab (Ch: Chaya) county of Chamdo Prefecture, to generate
electricity for the extraction of Yulong copper deposit.
The scale of mining in Tibet has been increasing primarily with
China’s rapid industrialization and urbanization programs. Yulong
copper mine will reduce China’s dependence on import of copper from
other countries. The unprecedented extraction of mineral resources in
Tibet over the years has immensely benefited the Chinese. With several
new mining projects underway such as this, severe environmental
consequences for the region is bound to occur, especially on its water
resources which flow down to several other countries.
Although, it is true that the development of mineral resources
is inevitable for the overall development of Tibet’s economy, but it is
all the more imperative to save the fragile ecology of the Tibetan
plateau and meet the needs of the Tibetan people in a sustainable way.
EDD makes the following recommendations to all concerned individuals,
organizations and corporations:
Environmental Impact Assessment should be conducted and be made
available for public viewing.
Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) should strictly supervise and
monitor all the mining activities to mitigate environmental damage.
Benefits from the mining should go to the Tibetans through jobs, social
welfare schemes, social securities etc.
Yulong Copper Mine to follow the guidelines for sustainable development
projects, proposed by the Central Tibetan Administration.